Using an LMS, or learning management system, can be a great way to educate and train employees. An LMS can encourage employees to seek out new knowledge that can help them with their jobs. Such a system can even help managers and HR in succession planning by tracking which employees have the skills for higher-level positions.
Not all LMS software is created equal. You’ll need to determine what features are the most important for your organization and seek out software that offers them. A free online software match tool like Matchr.com’s can help you to narrow down your search once you have an idea of what you need. But what features might an LMS include?
Some LMS systems offer pre-created courses you can use while others let you create your own. In some cases, both options may be available. Typically, though, it’s important to have the choice to create your own courses. Your course needs are unique and therefore may not be completely covered by an LMS’ own course library, no matter how extensive it is.
Customizable Learning Portals
Not all of your employees will have the same learning needs. Larger organizations may have different departments that have different skills and training requirements. Even smaller businesses may have different needs for different positions. Being able to create learning portals with access to different courses for different audiences can help focus employee learning on what they most need to know.
Learning paths are a great way to group together courses that are needed for specific skill sets, departments, or jobs. Being able to create a path to a specific target can help employees who have certain career goals. For example, an employee who is aiming to qualify for promotion could benefit from knowing clearly which skills are needed for advancement.
An LMS may not be the only type of HR software that you’re using. In some cases, LMS features may be included in a more comprehensive HR system like an HRIS. Whether you’re looking for LMS capabilities or a standalone LMS, the ability to integrate with other software systems you may be using is a must. Automatically syncing information from one system to another drastically reduces the risk of data entry errors.
Automated Admin Tasks
There are many repetitive administrative tasks that HR is responsible for that could be eliminated by automation. Any HR software, from an LMS to a full HRIS or HRMS, should include automation to ease HR’s burden. With an LMS, automation could include notifications, auto-enrollment in courses, and more.
Reminders and Notifications
A top LMS can help everyone from users to managers to HR staff stay on top of courses and employee progress. Employees are busy with their usual work and may forget to continue a course but a timely reminder could help them continue to make progress. Managers should receive notifications when their staff members have completed courses so they are aware of who knows which skills.
Good User Experience
If your software is difficult to use and unintuitive, it can actually hinder learning no matter how good your courses are. Look for LMS software that offers a good user experience so that learning is enjoyable rather than a chore. Intuitive software can also be helpful for those making the courses and managing the system. Ease of use can decrease the amount of time spent simply learning to use the software.
Exams and Comprehension Checks
Just knowing that employees have completed a course may not be enough. You may also want to ensure that they fully comprehend the material they’ve learned. An exam or other comprehension check feature is useful in making sure that users have truly understood the material.
No matter how interesting the subject matter is, going through an e-course can sometimes be boring. This is where gamification comes in. By turning what could be less-than-engaging learning materials into games, employees can be challenged and therefore learn better than they might by just reading the course. Plus, this feature can help to set clear goals and expectations as well as reward employees for their achievements.
Surveys and Feedback
Everyone’s learning experience with your LMS may be different, but it’s important to hear from as many people as you can. Feedback and critiques can help you see where you can improve everything from course content to learning requirements for certain departments or positions. The LMS should include surveys to make the process of getting feedback from users much easier.
Blended Learning Opportunities
There are many ways for employees to learn. Before software was involved, companies would hold in-person classroom-style training sessions. Some companies still use this method, preferring the personal touch when possible. Companies with remote workers may not have that option but can replace in-person courses with webinars or other virtual learning opportunities. In some cases, an e-course is best. An LMS that offers balanced learning opportunities so you can choose the right method of dissemination is best so you can create courses that are ideal for your needs.
Your learning management system should either be able to host webinars or integrate with software that does. Certain courses are better as webinars or virtual meetings instead of as e-courses. Many companies will bring in outside experts for training in things like diversity and inclusion or harassment prevention, for example.
Not everyone should have access to everything within the LMS. HR and managers should have more control over the system than end users, for example. If HR is in charge of managing all of the courses, then HR staff should have even more permissions than managers, who may only need to see the data from their own teams. Your LMS should let you customize who has access to what.
Your LMS should also be able to track employee progress through courses, as well as their scores from any exams or games within the system. Managers should be able to see who has completed what and when, including how well they performed. This information is important not just for ensuring employees are adequately trained but also for succession planning.
Any good HR system will include reporting features. Reports are a vital part of any HR software platform, from learning management systems to the most robust HRIS or HRMS. The system should also analyze the reports to provide valuable insights that you can use to improve HR strategies. LMS insights can impact employee development, succession planning, and even hiring if you notice that there are knowledge gaps that can’t just be filled with additional training.
If your company is large and has employees in multiple countries, then you’ll need an LMS that can handle multiple languages. While this feature may not be required for smaller businesses that are only in the United States, it’s a must for multinational corporations. Your company’s courses should be equally accessible to all employees, no matter where they live or what language they speak.
Many LMS platforms are cloud-based, which means that they are hosted by the vendor and accessed by employees via the Internet. Online security is a major concern and should be taken seriously by any vendor you consider for an LMS. Many LMS vendors are used to keeping client data secure but it’s a good idea to ask about security measures when looking for a new LMS.
The days of all employees working in the same office may be over. Remote work is more common now than it ever has been before and many companies are large enough to have workforces spread across the globe. Your LMS should be easily accessible by everyone, no matter where they live and work.
LMS should be accessible to all of your employees whether they work in-office, remotely, or across the globe. A mobile app can help make it easier than ever for employees to access and complete courses.
Responsive Software Design
Because employees may be signing in to your LMS from different devices, from tablets and smartphones to laptops and desktop computers, it’s important for the design to accommodate that range. If an LMS is intuitive and easy to use on a computer but not on a mobile device, then some of your employees may have difficulty using it, which can impede their learning.